Nova Scotia

$1,000 ticket issued to owner of Halifax-area diner after mask complaint

RCMP issued a $1,000 ticket to the owner of Hellas Restaurant for failing to wear a mask as mandated by the Health Protection Act. The ticket came after the owner railed online against mask-wearing, sparking complaints to police and Public Health.

Hellas Restaurant in Lower Sackville visited by provincial official and RCMP on Friday

The owner of Hellas Restaurant said on Friday that he would welcome an inspection from Public Health officials. (John Giannakos)

RCMP issued a $1,000 ticket to the owner of Hellas Restaurant for failing to wear a mask according to Public Health orders.

The ticket was delivered Friday after Hellas' owner John Giannakos railed online against mask-wearing, sparking complaints to police and Public Health.

On Sunday, Halifax District RCMP Sgt. Brian Cameron told CBC the ticket cites Section 71 of the Health Protection Act, which requires a mask to cover the nose and mouth in all indoor public spaces.

Cameron said he couldn't confirm who received the ticket, except that it was a restaurant worker, but Giannakos said online that it was him. 

A post on the restaurant's Facebook page Saturday evening refers to the ticket, saying, in part: "I was fined yesterday when my bandana slipped below my big nose and landed on my lip."

Giannakos also posted a video on YouTube of his interaction with police and a provincial official. He's behind the camera and can't be seen in the video, but the official from Nova Scotia Environment tells him repeatedly that his bandana has fallen down. 

Giannakos has said that he and his staff all wear bandanas — which Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang has said are not suitable alternatives to purpose-made face masks — and only when serving customers.

In another video, Giannakos complains about government-ordered restaurant closures. The video closes with a written message that says "take your country back" and "John will be pleading not guilty."

In an interview Sunday, Giannakos said he believes he's followed all the necessary protocols and he is "standing up for our freedoms and liberties."

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